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Common Causes Of Facial Pain: When Should You See A Doctor?

Updated: Jan 22

Have you ever felt a sharp pain on one side of your face? Does your face tingle or throb when you put makeup on or brush your teeth? If your answer is yes, then you are one of the many people who experience facial pain.

Facial pain is pain you feel in any part of your face, including your eyes and mouth. While facial pain is normally caused by a headache or an injury, it can also sometimes be the result of a serious medical condition.

To help you identify the origin of your pain, we discuss some of the most common causes of facial pain and the major signs that could indicate that should seek professional help.


There are many different kinds of headaches, and a number of them can cause facial pain. Some of the common headaches that can lead you to experience pain in any part of your face are cluster headaches, tension headaches, and migraines.

Cluster headaches are usually one sided with eye tearing, nasal stuffiness and happen in “cluster” episodes. Tension headaches are common, associated with stress and emotion and forms a tight band around the head. Lastly, migraines often cause one-sided sudden and severe pain and are often accompanied by nausea, vomiting and other symptoms of aura such as flashes of light or abnormal sounds.

Injuries to facial nerves

Another major cause of facial pain is injury. You may experience facial pain if you have current or past injuries, especially when they damage the nerves in your face. Examples of facial injuries that can cause facial pain are cuts and blows from accidents, impacts, falls, and violence.

In some cases, although seldom, surgery to the face can also cause nerve damage that results in facial pain. Some symptoms of injuries to facial nerves include numbness, tingling, and even paralysis in the affected area.

Dental abscess

Dental abscess refers to the buildup of pus that can develop when the soft tissue of a tooth becomes infected with bacteria. These infections can happen when injuries or decay enable bacteria to reach inside the tooth. Oftentimes, dental abscesses can lead to an intense, pulsating pain that may radiate toward the neck, jaw, and face.


Sinusitis refers to the inflammation of the sinuses, the tiny cavities sitting behind the nose, cheekbones, and forehead. Sinusitis typically begins after a cold, but nasal allergies like hay fever and allergic rhinitis may also cause the sinuses to be inflamed.

Among the common symptoms of sinusitis is nagging facial pain or headache, especially around the eyes and nose. This condition often goes away on its own without treatment or with antibiotics. However, sometimes, the symptoms can last up to 12 weeks, in which case, the sinusitis becomes chronic and further medical assessment may be necessary.

Trigeminal Neuralgia

Trigeminal neuralgia is a pain disorder that affects the face’s trigeminal nerve, which gives sensations to the face, namely the lower jaw, lips, cheeks, forehead, and scalp. Most of the time, trigeminal neuralgia only affects one side of the face, but there are instances when people can feel pain on both sides.

The pain induced by trigeminal neuralgia tends to occur suddenly and is described as an intense, electrical sharp pain. Doing certain actions or movements, such as applying makeup and brushing the teeth, can trigger a painful episode of trigeminal neuralgia.

TMJ disorders

The term “TMJ disorders” generally refers to the conditions that cause issues with movement and pain in the jaw muscles and joints. The common symptoms of a TMJ disorder include jaw pain that may reach the head, neck, and face, stiffness in the jaw muscles, and jaw locking.

Sometimes, the pain caused by a TMJ disorder can feel worse while chewing. Your jaw might also experience tenderness at the joint, even when it is not moving.

How to know if your facial pain requires medical attention

Often, facial pain is not a cause for concern and can be treated with simple home remedies, such as applying cold compress, using essential oils, or gargling with warm salt water. In some instances, however, facial pain can become severe, worsening, and persistent, in which case, you should consult a professional immediately. At Affinity Pain Clinic, we partner with experienced ENT and dental surgeons who are well positioned to treat some of the conditions mentioned above.

Some major signs that could mean that it is time to seek medical help for your facial pain:

  • Severe facial or dental pain that occurs repeatedly

  • Inflammation and swelling

  • Redness or flushing

  • Fever

  • Unexplained fatigue


There are several possible causes behind your facial pain. While facial pain is common and often relates to headaches and injuries, it is best to see your doctor right away if your condition becomes unusually painful or uncomfortable.

At Affinity Pain Clinic, our seasoned and professional physicians provide comprehensive pain treatments that are specifically designed to meet every individual patient’s needs. Some of our reliable medical treatment include sport injury treatment, muscle tear treatment, back and neck pain treatment, and nerve pain treatment in Singapore.

To schedule an appointment, feel free to drop us a note at today.


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